Selected plant species from the Cree pharmacopoeia of northern Quebec possess anti-diabetic potential.

Wed, 10/10/2012 - 13:48 -- admin
TitleSelected plant species from the Cree pharmacopoeia of northern Quebec possess anti-diabetic potential.
Publication TypeResearch
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsSpoor DCA, Martineau LC, Leduc C, Benhaddou-Andaloussi A, Meddah B, Harris CS, Burt A, Fraser M-H, Coonishish J, Joly E, Cuerrier A, Bennett SAL, Johns T, Prentki M, Arnason JT, Haddad PS
KeywordsAnti Diabetic Plant Project, Traditional medicine

Type II diabetes is a major health problem worldwide. Some populations, such as aboriginal peoples, are particularly at risk for this disease. In the Cree Nation of Quebec, Canada, prevalence in adults is approaching 20%, and the consequences are compounded by low compliance with modern medicine. In 2003, we conducted an ethnobotanical study of Cree medicinal plants used for the treatment of symptoms of diabetes. This served as the basis for a project designed to identify efficacious complementary treatment options more readily accepted by this population. The present study assesses the in vitro anti-diabetic potential of extracts from the 8 most promising plants to emerge from the ethnobotanical study. Cell-based bioassays were employed to screen for (i) potentiation of glucose uptake by skeletal muscle cells (C2C12) and adipocytes (3T3-L1); (ii) potentiation of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) and insulin production by pancreatic beta cells (INS 832/13); (iii) potentiation of triglyceride accumulation in differentiating 3T3-L1 cells; (iv) protection against glucose toxicity and glucose deprivation in pre-sympathetic neurons (PC12-AC). Additionally, anti-oxidant activity was measured biochemically by the diphenylpicrylhydrazyl (DPPH) reduction assay. All plant extracts potentiated basal or insulin-stimulated glucose uptake to some degree in muscle cells or adipocytes. Adipocyte differentiation was accelerated by 4 extracts. Five extracts conferred protection in PC12 cells. Three extracts displayed free radical scavenging activity similar to known anti-oxidants. None of the plant extracts enhanced GSIS or insulin content in INS 832/13 beta cells. It is concluded that the Cree pharmacopoeia contains several plants with significant anti-diabetic potential.